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Category Archives: Technology

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Fifth Circuit Adjusting Rules to Allow (Some) Technology in the Courtroom

Posted in Fifth Circuit, Oral Argument, Technology

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is considering the following change to 5th. Cir. R. 34.7; This proposal is open to written comment by sending an email to to changes@ca5.uscourts.gov on or before March 16, 2015. Shortly after the Court announced this change—the first to this rule since 1990—some speculated whether… Continue Reading

Old-School Legal Researchers: ThomsonWest Is Shuttering Westlaw Classic—and Soon

Posted in Appellate Practice, Technology

It’s been five years since ThomsonReuters (then ThomsonWest) launched WestlawNext and re-branded the legal research database many lawyers grew up on as “Westlaw Classic.” I received notice yesterday that my firm’s access to the old version will cease at the end of March, leaving WestlawNext as the only option available under our contract. This is… Continue Reading

Texas Appellate Courts Get a Major Website Upgrade

Posted in Court Administration, Courts of Appeals, Technology, Texas Supreme Court, Trial Courts

If you’ve received CaseMail updates this week, you’ve likely noticed something new when clicking on the link embedded in your notification emails. Last Friday, the Texas appellate courts got a major online upgrade with the launch of the new and improved txcourts.gov site. The new site is very user-friendly and much more pleasing to the eye than the… Continue Reading

Are Lawyer-Hyperlinked Briefs Headed for Extinction?

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Court Administration, Technology

When used appropriately, hyperlinks to specific portions of the record or to on-point authorities can be a very effective tool in the appellate lawyer’s arsenal. But are recent developments enhancing that tool or effectively taking it away? Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit standardized the format for citing electronic official… Continue Reading

State Bar Appellate Section Launches Redesigned Website

Posted in Announcements, Technology

As co-chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section’s Website Committee, I am pleased to share that the Section’s completely revamped website is now live at www.tex-app.org. The redesigned site allows visitors easy access to information about the Appellate Section, including the latest news and upcoming events, a searchable membership directory, and details about… Continue Reading

I, Juror No. 3

Posted in Articles, Technology, Trial Courts

Since I became a practicing lawyer, I’ve been called for jury duty four times: twice in Dallas County (where I lived from 1997 to 2003), and twice in Travis County (where I live now). This past week, I served my second stint as an actual juror. My first experience as a juror was in Dallas…. Continue Reading

Word-Count Rules Going Into Effect December 1

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Technology, Texas Supreme Court

A trial lawyer poses the following question: Do you know for sure whether the new appellate rules are going into effect December 1? Any thoughts on whether an appeal filed on November 29 (but not actually due until December 3) should maintain the old format or use the new rule? Per this Texas Supreme Court… Continue Reading

SCOTX Adopts Word-Count Rule

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Petition for Review, Procedure, Technology

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order incorporating word counts into the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The order amends Rules 9, 38, 49, 52, 53, 55, 64, 68, 70, and 71. Some highlights of the amendments include (for computer-generated briefs in civil cases): a minimum 14-point font (12-point for footnotes); a 15,000-word limit… Continue Reading

Lone Star Lawyers Converging on Houston for SBOT12

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Technology

I will soon be departing for Houston to attend the 2012 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting.  This will be my third straight year to attend and my second year as a presenter. On Thursday, as part of the Computer and Technology Section’s “Adaptable Lawyer” track, Don Cruse and I will give a talk entitled… Continue Reading

Video of SCOTX CLE Event Now Online

Posted in Appellate Practice, Technology

Thanks to the efforts of Texas Supreme Court Clerk and Austin Bar Civil Appellate Law Section Council member Blake Hawthorne, video of the recent “Evening with the Texas Supreme Court” event is now available for viewing through the Court’s webcast page. I was honored to moderate this discussion as chair of the ABA Section and… Continue Reading

Tom Mighell on iPad for Litigators

Posted in Technology

I recently had the privilege of hearing legal technology consultant Tom Mighell make his “iPad for Litigators” presentation to the Austin Bar Association’s Civil Litigation.  Texas lawyers may know Tom from his days as a litigator with Dallas firm Cowles & Thompson.  He has authored an excellent legal tech blog, Inter Alia, for several years. I… Continue Reading

Hedges and Hawthorne to Speak on New TAMES System

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Technology

On March 29, 2012, Fourteenth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Adele Hedges and Texas Supreme Court Clerk Blake Hawthorne will speak to the Austin Bar Civil Appellate Law Section on "The Texas Appeals Management and E-filing System: Making Our Appellate Courts More Efficient and Transparent." This talk goes along with an article Blake published in the most… Continue Reading

Solo/Small Firm Section CLE Set for 2/23

Posted in Announcements, Technology

As immediate past chair of the Austin Bar Association Solo/Small Firm Section, my main responsibility is to organize and run a half-day CLE program the Section puts on each year.  We have put together what I think will be an outstanding program that will educate attendees on a number of subjects relevant to solos and small… Continue Reading

SCOTX to Hold Hearing on Uniform E-Filing System

Posted in Appellate Practice, Technology

This afternoon at 2:00, the Texas Supreme Court will hold a public hearing to explore the feasibility of a statewide uniform system for electronic court filings.  The hearing will take place in the Supreme Court Courtroom and will be webcast live here. The Court is considering whether Texas ought to implement a system modeled to… Continue Reading

Results of the Twitter Brief Contest

Posted in Announcements, Briefs, Technology

As I wrote about here, the State Bar Appellate Section sponsored a Twitter brief contest in conjunction with the recent Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course in Austin.  The winners were announced during the Section’s annual meeting. The official PowerPoint containing the winning entries and several honorable mentions is embedded below for everyone’s enjoyment. I intend… Continue Reading

SCOTX: Attorneys Must E-File Effective 9/12/11

Posted in Appellate Practice, Supreme Court Orders, Technology

Texas appellate e-filing continues to evolve at a rapid pace.  Effective September 12, 2011, attorneys filing documents in the Texas Supreme Court must do so electronically.  Pro se parties may e-file, or they may submit paper documents. View the Court’s latest e-filing order here.  Don Cruse has broken down the new order over at the… Continue Reading

The Adaptable (Appellate) Lawyer

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Motions, Procedure, Technology

I recently attended the 2011 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in San Antonio.  As mentioned here before, the Bar asked me to come back as a presenter this year.  It was quite an honor. My subject was e-filing in state and federal appellate courts.  In conjunction with my talk, I published a short article in… Continue Reading

Texas Appellate E-Filing Goes Live

Posted in Announcements, Appellate Practice, Technology

Here is the text of an e-mail I received from SCOTX Clerk Blake Hawthorne this morning, along with links he included in the message: Effective March 28, 2011, you may electronically file documents, pay your fees, and serve opposing counsel using the Texas.gov electronic filing system. To use the electronic filing system you must first choose… Continue Reading

At Last, E-Filing Is Coming to Texas Appellate Courts

Posted in Announcements, Appellate Practice, Technology

Four years ago, I first asked when appellate courts would catch up on e-filing.  Since then, the Fifth Circuit has successfully implemented an e-filing program, which has been mandatory for almost a year now.  In state appellate courts, however, the process has been painfully slow. The Texas Supreme Court took a giant step in the… Continue Reading

Practicing With the iPad

Posted in Appellate Practice, Technology

The fourth and final installment in my Texas Lawyer series on technology for lawyers appears in the December 27, 2010 issue.  This time, I wrote about my experience integrating an iPad into my appellate practice.  It’s been positive. I have received some nice compliments about the article since it came out, and I hope it… Continue Reading